Crew members that are able to satisfy the “seaman status” requirements under admiralty law have special rights and remedies not afforded to other workers. For example, a shoreside employee is generally bared from suing his or her employer due to the immunity afforded under the Workers Compensation Act. This is not true for a seaman, who may sue his or her employer under a Federal Statute called the “Jones Act”. Additionally, a shoreside employee is not able to sue under theories of strict liability. This is also not true with regard to a Jones Act seaman, who possesses an additional claim for “unseaworthiness” against a yacht or shipowner. Under an unseaworthiness claim, a Jones Act seaman may sue for the mere existence of a dangerous condition that in any way contributes to an injury. This is true even if the yacht or shipowner was unaware of the dangerous condition before it caused an injury. Jones Act seamen are afforded these and other special rights in recognition of the perils and hazards associated with their shipboard duties.
A seaman who is injured may sue his employer, the vessel owner and, in some instances, even the vessel itself, referred to as an “in rem” claim under varies theories that include:
- Jones Act Negligence
- Maintenance & Cure
- Earned Penalty Wage Claim
- Unearned or Sick Wages
Each of these claims requires that certain elements be proven to the Judge or Jury deciding your case. If even only one of the needed elements is not proven, one or more of your claims may be dismissed. This means you will not receive compensation for your injury. Knowing what elements must be proven under each maritime claim and how to prove these elements is the business of an experienced maritime practitioner and the trade honed by Brais Law Firm for nearly 30 years.
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The Florida tug and barge accident attorneys of the law firm at Brais Law Firm have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs, and the skills to obtain the compensation you deserve. Our firm’s primary office is located in Miami, FL, although we routinely handle claims throughout the state of Florida. To reach our lawyers call 305-416-2901 from within Florida, call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., or click Contact Us to complete a form for a free evaluation of your case and to learn how the “AV” Preeminent, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates and Board Certified Maritime Attorneys with Brais Law Firm might be able to help you today.